Chapter 8: Qian Xiaoqi, Wait
So that night, there was an additional member gathered at the dinner table – Ha Pi.
Wen Ruoshui’s gaze was sparkling as she looked at Ha Pi. She kept wanting to reach over and pet him but Qian Xiaoqi wouldn’t allow it.
Qian Xiaoqi kept Ha Pi in the area where she was sitting and even had Lu Liu get a plate especially for Ha Pi. There was finally no red braised pork today; instead, there was an additional plate of roasted chicken*. Xiaoqi picked up a piece of chicken breast with her chopsticks and carried it to Ha Pi’s plate. This caused Song Liangzhuo to frown a little.
The term has quite a lot of meanings from ‘to burn’ to ‘to stew’ to ‘to roast’ and etc. Pretty much all the cooking terms that can do with heat. So I wasn’t sure which translation to go with and ended up watching a cooking video to learn a bit more about it. The narration is in Chinese, and it’s rather lol. In the end, I searched up ‘Chinese stewed chicken’ and ‘Chinese roasted chicken’ and the latter image fits more. In actual preparation though, the chicken is rinsed with hot water, then with heated sauce, and then hung to dry. Afterward, it gets roasted a little bit in the oven before being taken out and rinsed with increasingly hotter oil and finally dried again.
Xiaoqi aimed a glance at Song Liangzhuo and said with a pout, “Ha Pi doesn’t eat that much.”
Song Liangzhuo had to force himself a little to nod. Then he said with a deliberating tone, “But it still shouldn’t be as luxurious as this. Xiaoqi has seen the beggars on the streets before, have you not?”
Although this was said gently, it still carried a criticizing tone. Qian Xiaoqi lowered her head and starting raking up the rice. From start to finish, she didn’t touch that dish of roasted chicken a second time. Ha Pi wouldn’t comply with this and kept whining and squeezing forward. Xiaoqi abruptly raked in two mouthfuls of rice, then picked up Ha Pi. “You guys eat, I’m heading back to sleep.”
Ha Pi continuously whimpered sadly. Xiaoqi didn’t pay attention to their reaction and jumped out of the room in a couple of steps.
“Damned send two tables, would eating a piece of your chicken cause someone to die!?” Xiaoqi pouted as she headed towards Lu Liu’s house.
Xiaoqi understood that what Song Liangzhuo said wasn’t wrong. There were plenty of people who weren’t able to get anything to eat. For poverty-stricken people to eat a meal with meat was already a grand event worthy of celebration. But after Ha Pi was brought back from overseas by Old Master Qian, it had gotten used to living an extravagant life of brocade garments and jade meals. If you have it eat steamed buns and drink pot scrubbing water, it’ll definitely lose weight in just a couple days.
Xiaoqi gloomily thought, it’s still best to send Ha Pi back in a couple days. If it had to eat poorly and sleep poorly with her, wouldn’t it be unbearable to death?!
Lu Liu also felt heartache for Ha Pi who wasn’t able to eat his fill and got white flour steamed buns for him. But Ha Pi’s tastes were shaped to be picky so he wouldn’t even take a sniff at it. Xiaoqi felt grieved as she carried Ha Pi and sneakily slipped into the kitchen.
The kitchen was seriously tidied meticulously! Qian Xiaoqi lifted several pot lids in a row, and in the end, drooped her shoulders in discouragement.
Qian Xiaoqi rubbed her own empty stomach and as she glanced at the whining Ha Pi in her arms, sorrow from the feeling that all the good things in the world were already no longer available to her swept over her. Qian Xiaoqi hugged Ha Pi and nestled in the corner of the kitchen for a while before clenching her teeth and standing up resolutely. Giving a humph, she said, “If you don’t let me eat do you think it means I can’t buy it myself?”
No sooner said than done.
Qian Xiaoqi didn’t return to the bedroom to get money from the chest, but rather directly brought Lu Liu and climbed over the wall of a small courtyard to get out.T/N
“Miss, isn’t it rather late?” Lu Liu worriedly glanced at the pitch black alley, her opinion differing a little.
“Restaurants just happen to be lively at night ne. It’s not like we’re doing something bad, we’re just going to eat a meal.”
“Then, in a while, when guye isn’t able to find Miss, will guye get angry?”
“Sss!” Qian Xiaoqi waved her hand dismissively. “He’d definitely take this time to keep that Ruoshui company. Let’s hurry up and eat, then go back.”
There really were no pedestrians on the streets anymore. Qian Xiaoqi carried Ha Pi and walked with Lu Liu for half the day before finally seeing a roast chicken shop that was about to close up.
“Owner, owner!” Qian Xiaoqi rushed over and hurriedly asked, “Do you still have any roasted chicken left?”
“There are only braised chicken feet left, does Lady want those?”
Qian Xiaoqi had a quirk that didn’t really count as a shortcoming. It was that she didn’t eat dirty things, didn’t eat things that looked dirty, and didn’t eat things that touched dirty things before. Lu Liu saw Qian Xiaoqi’s disappointment and hurriedly said, “Just pick out less for us.”
“Alrightly.” The owner put all the leftover chicken claws that were askew into the oil paper bag and smiled. “There’s no need to weigh it, it won’t be kept past the night anyways. Just ten coins is enough.”
Lu Liu took it and paid the money. Using her arm to nudge Qian Xiaoqi, she said, “Miss, we can let Ha Pi eat this. If Miss is hungry, then let’s look some more for somewhere to eat.”
The owner was big-hearted. Upon hearing this, he smiled and said, “What? Lady still hasn’t eaten yet? Why don’t you just eat at this little shop of mine? I’ll have my wife make a bowl of noodles, what do you think?”
Lu Liu smiled and nodded, then pulled the gloomy Qian Xiaoqi into the small store.
This roasted chicken shop was very small. Because it didn’t take guests, there was only one large table inside the room, probably for them to place their things or when they had meals themselves.
The owner’s wife was also very warm-hearted. Seeing that it was two young ladies, she rushed into the kitchen to boil the noodles.
Qian Xiaoqi thanked the owner. Sitting at the black oily table, she wanted to put Ha Pi on the table but was afraid that the owner wouldn’t like that. After thinking about it, she placed Ha Pi onto the floor instead.
“Is this a dog or a cat? Why’s it even wearing clothes? What an unusual little amusement!” The uncle owner laughed as he asked.
Xiaoqi perked up and smiled. “Ha Pi’s a dog, it’s just a little small.”
Lu Liu asked the uncle for another sheet of oil paper and spread it on the floor before throwing two chicken feet down for Ha Pi.
“Hehe, that’s quite some attention, even needing to use paper to plate the food,” the uncle chuckled. “Looks like you’re a lady from a large family. Why are you out at this hour? It’s not safe na!”
“We came out to take a stroll and got lost. And we just happened to get hungry as well, so we went looking for something to eat,” Lu Liu replied with a smile.
“Ah? Got lost? Which fu do you two live in? After you finish eating, I’ll have the waiter send you two back.”
“No need, no need!” Xiaoqi shot Lu Liu a glare before smiling. “I’ve recalled the way again, there’s no need for Uncle to take the trouble.”
Luckily, the owner’s wife carried the noodles out right at this moment. Lu Liu hastily got up to receive it. The owner’s wife turned around and went inside again. When she came out, there was yet another bowl in her hands. Lu Liu tried to decline but wasn’t successful, so in the end, she took it and just treated it as a midnight snack.
It was an ordinary bowl of noodles. There were some fried, lush-green spring onions spilled on top and a pocket egg buried on the bottom. There weren’t even any vegetables, yet Xiaoqi was rather content and happy as she looked at it.
Xiaoqi moved closer to take a deep breath, then smiled. “Aunt’s cooking is so fragrant!”
The owner’s wife smiled as she said, “It’s nothing but ordinary noodles, it can’t compare with the things Lady eats in Lady’s own fu. As long as Lady doesn’t disdain, it’s good.”
“It really is really fragrant!” Xiaoqi first drank a mouthful of soup and slowly sampled it before starting to immerse herself in eating.
The owner went to the back to start preparing the roast chickens for tomorrow. The owner’s wife moved towards the light to reinforce the soles of some shoes by sewing while occasionally exchanging a couple words with the master and servant pair.
Xiaoqi ate with relish. She couldn’t even bear to eat a pocket egg down with a couple big bites and slowly tasted it with small little bites. Upon seeing this, the owner’s wife laughed. “Lady’s way of eating is truly refined. It can clearly be seen that Lady is from a wealthy family!”
Xiaoqi blushed and mumbled, “I just feel like it’s tasty and wanted to enjoy it more, that’s all.”
Upon hearing this, the owner’s wife smiled. “It’s just an egg, it couldn’t be that Lady hasn’t eaten it before?”
“Didn’t eat a lot before, and lately I didn’t eat any at all.”
“Ah? The family is declining?” The owner’s wife had a face full of concern.
“That’s not it either, it’s just a switch of places. The new place is extremely stifling,” Xiaoqi mumbled.
“Oh.” The owner’s wife was reassured and then consoled, “People, in one lifetime, really do have to shift nests several times. Could it be that Lady has married? When you first get married, it is quite stifling. You must wait upon the parents-in-law and even have to attend to your own family’s husband. At the start, you’re not even allowed at the table. But after many years, even a submissive daughter-in-law will become a domineering mother-in-law. It’ll slowly get better.”
Xiaoqi opened her eyes wide and questioned disbelievingly, “Not even allowed to sit at the table?”
“Precisely ah!” The owner’s wife sighed. “Every meal was eaten in the kitchen and at night you’d even have to wash the parents’ feet.”
The owner’s wife took a glance at the Xiaoqi whose face was full of worry and smiled. “With Lady’s status, Lady probably won’t have to experience that so there’s no need for worry.”
“Me too.” Xiaoqi gloomily said, “Always can’t eat to full.”
“Yeah, can’t eat to full,” the owner’s wife nodded.
Xiaoqi sighed and finished the pocket egg in two, three bites, then fiercely raked in a couple mouthfuls of noodles. With a suffering face, she told herself that she must hurry and get divorced. There’s no way she could gift herself out for people to bully. If the time comes that she was really coaxed by that evil person to his hometown, wouldn’t she, Qian Xiaoqi, be bullied to death ya?! Right now she was already no longer allowed to eat her fill, in the future would she have to face only one meal a day?
Xiaoqi’s brows knitted more and more tightly; her eyes were also becoming a bit red.
Seeing this, Lu Liu asked softly, “What’s wrong, Miss?”
“Lu Liu,” Xiaoqi sniffled, “I don’t want to be married anymore! I’ll be starved to death!”
A boom exploded in Lu Liu’s brain, then she dizzily asked, “How could that be possible? Guye has never starved us.”
“He did. I haven’t eaten my fill for three entire days. If it weren’t for the fact that I made up for it with a meal at home today, I would’ve practically starved to death.”
Lu Liu slanted her eyes and glanced at the Xiaoqi whose face was filled with grief and indignation and thought, she eats melon seeds and dried fruits from morning to night. Even if she doesn’t eat meals, it wouldn’t be as bad as starving ah!
After Ha Pi finished eating the chicken feet, he sniffed the air and ran towards the back. In her depression, Xiaoqi didn’t notice. Lu Liu sighed in her heart and pick up the pocket egg in her own bowl to give to Xiaoqi. Xiaoqi didn’t stand on ceremony and ate it cleanly, and also siphon up all the noodles in her own bowl cleanly before drinking up all the noodle soup with blobs of grease floating on it cleanly.
Xiaoqi gave a satisfied belch, then took the handkerchief Lu Liu handed over and wiped her mouth. Seeing Xiaoqi eat this way, the owner’s wife thought that Xiaoqi probably was suffering in her husband’s home and gave a sigh.
Lu Liu helped collect the bowls and chopsticks. When she turned around, her eyes swept across the person standing in the shadow of the entrance and she immediately froze.
“Lu Liu.” Xiaoqi pushed the hand that Lu Liu was using to hold the empty bowls a little. “Hurry up, it’s about time for us to go back.”
“No hurry, I’ll take care of cleaning up,” the owner’s wife smiled as she got up. When her gaze shifted she also noticed the person standing half-concealed next to the door. When that person came in, she stared for quite a while before her eyes lit up with recognition. Then she smiled as she greeted, “What brings Official da renG to this little store of ours?”
The owner’s wife hurriedly called towards the back, “Head of household ah, Official da ren has come.”
Qian Xiaoqi stiffened and sat up straight as she unwillingly slowly turned around. She glanced at Song Liangzhuo, then grievously flattened her mouth and lowered her head.
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira, Proofread by Ocelot
T/C – Oooh, the famous wall climbing! I wish there was a little more detail about that, lol.
And done with the fill in chapters!
To new readers… the following quality is gonna be pretty embarrassing, sorry. I’ll do my best to get around to fixing things up soon.
To readers who have been following my progress, you’ll love/hate the following chapters that I’m gonna translate! XD